Participatory Forest Management
Protecting forests, protecting people
It is widely recognized that forests provide many important ecosystem services. Not only do they store carbon and regulate our climate, they also are home to an abundance of animal and plant species. Of all of the world's land species, around two thirds live in forests. Due to this, biodiversity conservation and the successful the maintenance of environmental integrity are pre-requisites for sustainable development. The promotion of economic activities that are environmentally sustainable can help to restore and protect the integrity of the environment, as well as promoting an interest in their conservation through the derivation of income from the sustainable use of natural resources.
The natural forests of the Kafa Biosphere Reserve are the major source of non-timber forest products such as coffee, fruits, mushrooms, medicine, spices, honey and beeswax, as well as supplying timber products such as firewood, charcoal and building materials. They are therefore of special interest and importance to the local communities and their livelihoods, as they can provide economic advantages for the people of Kafa and provide an important link between poverty alleviation and forest conservation.
Participatory Forest Management (PFM) is an instrument to achieve sustainable forest management by encouraging the management or co-management of forest and woodland resources by the communities living closest to the resources, which has been successfully practiced in the Kafa Zone for decades. Well managed PFM-forests, not only help to conserve important biodiversity sites by contributing against further deforestation and soil erosion, but also offer income opportunities for local communities. NABU has been promoting PFM on 16 sites, covering an area of 11,577.45 ha in the Kafa BR between 2009 and 2013, and wants to further enlarge the PFM managed sites in Kafa.
NABU is planning to extend PFM to other suitable forest areas in Kafa. By 2017 at least 4,500 ha of Kafa’s forests will have been transferred to PFM. By doing so potential income for the local people will be increased through sustainable use and sale of forest products. To succeed in this task, NABU cooperates with partners like the Kafa Forest Bee Products Union.